Barbara Gonzales Kende


Barbara Gonzales Kende passed away on Sept. 2, 2023, surrounded by her immediate family and a close friend. 

Barbara was born in Washington State, where she studied ballet and set herself apart as a dancer and honors student. She loved reading, music, and her Vogue magazine, where she found inspiration for her unique style. Her poise and sense of self became the guide for her two sisters, who thought of her as their very own fairy princess. 

Barbara came to New York after graduating from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. She continued ballet, which was her early passion, as well as studying voice and acting at the famous HB Studio in Greenwich Village. She later went on to graduate from the Katharine Gibbs College, worked for Businessweek magazine, and spent most of her professional life as a devoted personal assistant to a prominent member of the Newhouse family. 

Barbara met Christopher Kende in 1973, and they were married in 1976. She was very devoted to Chris’ dad, Herbert Kende, and they spent many Sunday dinners together. When Herbert passed in 1977, she was the rock supporting her husband. 

She put her heart and soul into the renovation of Christopher’s Haven, the Edgartown home left to him by his beloved aunt Ilsa Marie Crawley, and into learning how to sail. Sailing became her true passion, and on any given Saturday, she could be seen racing her beloved On Y Va with her longtime sailing buddy and close friend Dianne Durawa, as part of the H12 fleet. They raced together for 30 years, winning several events over the years.

Her happiest days were spent on the String Piece, talking sailing talk with her H12 fleet friends after a race. She loved her garden filled with lilies, and spent hours sitting on the porch of Christopher’s Haven listening to the birds and sounds of her beloved home. Barbara was devoted to her family, and never forgot a holiday, birthday, or Valentine’s Day. 

She is survived by Christopher Kende, her devoted husband of 47 years; her brother, Gregory Gonzales; her sisters, Marian Gonzales and Christine Berschauer, along with their husbands; by numerous nieces and nephews, and grand-nieces and grand-nephews. 

Barbara’s memorial service will be held on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard, 45 South Summer St., in Edgartown. The service will start at 11 am, to be followed by a reception at the Edgartown Yacht Club, located at 1 Dock St., Edgartown. 

Charitable contributions in Barbara’s name may be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. If you wish to send flowers, Donaroma’s Floral at 508-627-8366 is coordinating deliveries.